'Downton Abbey,' 'Strictly Come Dancing' Among Winners at Britain's National Television Awards

Dan Stevens Matthew Crawley Downton Abbey S2 - H 2012

Dan Stevens Matthew Crawley Downton Abbey S2 - H 2012

The public also named Irish comedy "Mrs Brown's Boys" the most popular sitcom and "I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here!" the best entertainment show.

LONDON -- ITV's hit drama Downton Abbey and the BBC competition show Strictly Come Dancing took home trophies at Britain's National Television Awards on Wednesday.

The winners were decided in a vote by the public and handed out at London's O2 Arena.

Period costume drama Downton beat out popular BBC shows Sherlock, Doctor Who and Merlin in the top drama category.

Celebrity dance competition Strictly prevailed over the BBC's The Voice, Simon Cowell's ITV shows Britain's Got Talent and The X Factor and ITV's Dancing on Ice.

Nominated for the most popular sitcom award were The Big Bang Theory, which airs in the U.K. on E4, along with BBC hit Absolutely Fabulous and Irish comedy Mrs. Brown's Boys, as well as ITV's Benidorm, which is set at an all-inclusive hotel resort in Spain. Mrs. Brown's Boys won the popular vote.

Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch and Doctor Who star Matt Smith, meanwhile, were edged out in the race for the most popular drama actor award by Merlin's Colin Morgan. Daniel Mays also was nominated for his role on ITV's Mrs. Biggs.

Miranda Hart won the best drama actress honor for her role in the BBC's Call the Midwife. She beat out Karen Gillan (Doctor Who), Sheridan Smith (Mrs. Biggs) and Suranne Jones (ITV's Scott & Bailey).

In the reality and factual entertainment TV award category, BBC shows The Apprentice, Top Gear and The Great British Bake-Off couldn't beat Paul O'Grady: For the Love of Dogs, in which a comedian looks to find new homes for dogs.

The best entertainment category nominees were Graham Norton talk show The Graham Norton Show, ITV's I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here!, the eventual winner, The Only Way Is Essex, often described as Britain's answer to The Hills and Jersey Shore, as well as Channel 4's Alan Carr: Chatty Man.

David Witts from BBC soap opera EastEnders was named the year's best newcomer.

Unlike the BAFTAs and other U.K. awards, the National Television Awards, first handed out in 1995, allow foreign shows to be nominated as long as they air on a British network. The trophy show aired on ITV.

Cowell was among the big entertainment industry names at the ceremony. Britain's Got Talent winners Pudsey, the dancing dog, and trainer Ashleigh had the audience buzzing with their rendition of Psy's "Gangnam Style."

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